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If there is no rebirth ...

2

Comments

  • edited August 2012
    pegembara said:

    If there is no rebirth ...

    Who is reborn?

    This question implies that someone (a self) or something (an essence) was born, died and (re)born again. With anatta, this cannot be although it appears to be so.

    Actually it's just a convention. Otherwise there's no way to describe how Johnathan died and Marcie subsequently was born. Conventionally, Johnathan was reborn into Marcie. There's no indication of transmigration in this convention... ... ... If it was a useless convention it wouldn't be used in the canon.
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited August 2012

    Actually it's just a convention. Otherwise there's no way to describe how Johnathan died and Marcie subsequently was born.

    Procreation seems to explain birth well enough, without turning it into transmigration of a self. :) However the conditions of that new existence need a context, and karma/rebirth gives that context, those conditions that are inherited from past actions as well as the fact that there is birth at all.
  • SileSile Veteran
    But it's not karmic justice, and there's no power dispensing it. Justice implies a decider, who technically has the power to administer the punishment or not administer it, at his/her whim. In karma, there's no decider, other than the individual who created the original, negative causal action which then incurred the resultant karmic effect. And the result is automatic (unless the karma is somehow purified).

    I think we tend to assign our Abrahamic-tinged views onto "old world" Buddhists. Just because a missing leg is explained as a result of negative behavior in a past life, doesn't mean the person saying that thinks a "god" inflicted the deformity. The old world Buddhists I know are quite clear that the missing leg (or equivalent) is a natural result of cause and effect.

    In talking about it the person may well convey feelings of regret which are easily interpreted by Abrahamic-influenced people as a sense of having been punished, but that doesn't mean the person thinks they were punished by another party.
    son_of_dhammaperson
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Sile said:

    But it's not karmic justice, and there's no power dispensing it. Justice implies a decider, who technically has the power to administer the punishment or not administer it, at his/her whim. In karma, there's no decider, other than the individual who created the original, negative causal action which then incurred the resultant karmic effect. And the result is automatic (unless the karma is somehow purified).

    I think we tend to assign our Abrahamic-tinged views onto "old world" Buddhists. Just because a missing leg is explained as a result of negative behavior in a past life, doesn't mean the person saying that thinks a "god" inflicted the deformity. The old world Buddhists I know are quite clear that the missing leg (or equivalent) is a natural result of cause and effect.

    ...

    First of all, explain to me why justice implies a "decider" (thank you, George Bush).

    I didn't say that, "the person saying that [the amputated leg] thinks a "god" inflicted the deformity.

    "Just because a missing leg is explained as a result of negative behavior in a past life...The old world Buddhists I know are quite clear that the missing leg (or equivalent) is a natural result of cause and effect." I'd like to see them explain that.

  • SileSile Veteran
    edited August 2012
    Because justice describes something that should happen, whereas karma/science describes something that does happen. The "should" is decided by other parties--judges, juries, society--whereas the "does" is just a natural result.

    Also, "should" carries sense of opinion, and as such, can change according to time and place--the "should" could be different for different cultures and societies. In some societies, unmarried people who sleep together "should" be punished, whereas in other societies, this wouldn't be the case. Karma on the other hand is held to apply equally to all, a simple law of science.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    ^ That's one legitimate view.
    son_of_dhamma
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    Cloud said:

    @vinlyn, Yeah I don't know about all that. They both seem to be looking in different directions, like they're trying to mold karma, to have it explain something else, rather than understanding it in its original context related to suffering and liberation.

    :thumbup:
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited August 2012
    music said:

    ... why can't we just enjoy life to the fullest, and forget about meditation etc.? If there is rebirth, the fear of taking birth in lower realms may impel us to follow dharma. But if there is no rebirth ...

    Because some bad karma and some good karma ripens immediately, in the here and now. Do you want today to be calm, peaceful and happy or do you want today to be filled with stress and anxiety? If there is only this life, would you prefer that this one life is filled with stress and anxiety or that this one life be calm, peaceful and happy? Most people would not pick stress and anxiety if they knew they could choose! It is not just a fear of rebirth that causes people to follow the dharma. The effects of following the dharma or not following it, can be experienced right now, today, tomorrow, next week. Not just in a next life. :)

  • @vinlyn I like that Old World versus New World view of karma, or however you want to distinguish it. Only problem I see, there are plenty of Buddhists in the West who hold that literal "eye for an eye" understanding of past life karma. Of course, they mostly follow very culturally based versions of Old World Buddhism. Problem with anything like this is, it's a wonderful mess when you look at it closely.



  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited August 2012
    @Cinorjer
    @vinlyn I like that Old World versus New World view of karma, or however you want to distinguish it. Only problem I see, there are plenty of Buddhists in the West who hold that literal "eye for an eye" understanding of past life karma. Of course, they mostly follow very culturally based versions of Old World Buddhism. Problem with anything like this is, it's a wonderful mess when you look at it closely.
    It sounds like you are using "Old World" to refer to the way things are actually described in the suttas - "traditional" might be simpler.
    In the suttas karma is described in a straightforward way, with beings re-appearing in different realms according to their actions.
    In any case I think you're setting up a false dichotomy because karma ( cause and affect )can operate over different time periods.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @Cinorjer

    @vinlyn I like that Old World versus New World view of karma, or however you want to distinguish it. Only problem I see, there are plenty of Buddhists in the West who hold that literal "eye for an eye" understanding of past life karma. Of course, they mostly follow very culturally based versions of Old World Buddhism. Problem with anything like this is, it's a wonderful mess when you look at it closely.
    It sounds like you are using "Old World" to refer to the way things are actually described in the suttas - "traditional" might be simpler.
    In the suttas karma is described in a straightforward way, with beings re-appearing in different realms according to their actions.
    In any case I think you're setting up a false dichotomy because karma ( cause and affect )can operate over different time periods.



    The question is beyond mere "different time periods". The question if about over different existences.

  • pegembara said:

    If there is no rebirth ...

    Who is reborn?

    This question implies that someone (a self) or something (an essence) was born, died and (re)born again. With anatta, this cannot be although it appears to be so.

    Actually it's just a convention. Otherwise there's no way to describe how Johnathan died and Marcie subsequently was born. Conventionally, Johnathan was reborn into Marcie. There's no indication of transmigration in this convention... ... ... If it was a useless convention it wouldn't be used in the canon.
    (Re)birth already presupposes that some essence (atta) of "Johnathan" is born again. There is no re- something. The term rebirth (like reincarnation) can cause confusion. Better to say cycle of birth, birth, birth etc. although it does sound awkward.

    One must make sure that the teaching of karma and rebirth does not lead to this:

    ["This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?"

    This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress. Sabbasava Sutta]
    Cloud
  • pegembara said:

    pegembara said:

    If there is no rebirth ...

    Who is reborn?

    This question implies that someone (a self) or something (an essence) was born, died and (re)born again. With anatta, this cannot be although it appears to be so.

    Actually it's just a convention. Otherwise there's no way to describe how Johnathan died and Marcie subsequently was born. Conventionally, Johnathan was reborn into Marcie. There's no indication of transmigration in this convention... ... ... If it was a useless convention it wouldn't be used in the canon.
    (Re)birth already presupposes that some essence (atta) of "Johnathan" is born again. There is no re- something. The term rebirth (like reincarnation) can cause confusion. Better to say cycle of birth, birth, birth etc. although it does sound awkward.

    One must make sure that the teaching of karma and rebirth does not lead to this:

    ["This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?"

    This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress. Sabbasava Sutta]

    ... okay. I guess everyone should stop using the term rebirth.
  • Karma IMO has two sides to it, one is very simple indeed and the other not so. Cause and effect yes this is very easy to view in every day life and to understand, but karma that can ripen in this life time, the next or in the next 100 is not so simple to understand. From what I can gather once the Buddha was fully awoken he could see the workings of karma with full clarity.

    I use to be at the beginning of my Buddhist path a hardcore 'yes rebirth is real, believe in it!' But now not so much so, I still think it is something that happens in the literal sense but the thing is, it doesn't matter. If it exists then it does, if it doesn't then it doesn't.. Just live in the now, live it to it's fullest and try to prefect your time in the now and if rebirth is an actual phenomena then it is a bonus ^^
  • then all the more reason to enjoy life to the max.
    booze, sex n rockn roll?
    music said:

    hermitwin said:

    sure you can. that is what 99% of the people do.
    buddha is teaching you how to be free, to escape from "why can't we just enjoy life to the fullest, and forget about meditation etc.?" dont you think there is enough suffering in this very life?

    If there is a constant birth-death cycle, then escaping from it would be useful. But if this is the only life we have ...
  • karma is unfair.
    why i try all kinds of diets and i am still fat.
    my friend eats everything, seldom exercise and she is slim.
    that is so unfair.
    but , hey, that is reality, whether you like it or not.
    how said:

    I'm not sure I catch the unfair aspect in karma that other people seem to. I think that to see it as unfair, one has to look at karmic inheritance from the viewpoint of a personal identity instead of it just viewing it as a compilation of karma accruing with the aggregates to bring into formation another sentient being. That being is just another opportunity for some karmic inertia to be dissipated.

    Attributing specific past causes to account for present life circumstances is a very simplistic view when you take into account the vast plethora of diverse streams of karma that make up the average sentient's life inheritance.

  • hermitwin said:

    karma is unfair.
    why i try all kinds of diets and i am still fat.
    my friend eats everything, seldom exercise and she is slim.
    that is so unfair.
    but , hey, that is reality, whether you like it or not.

    how said:

    I'm not sure I catch the unfair aspect in karma that other people seem to. I think that to see it as unfair, one has to look at karmic inheritance from the viewpoint of a personal identity instead of it just viewing it as a compilation of karma accruing with the aggregates to bring into formation another sentient being. That being is just another opportunity for some karmic inertia to be dissipated.

    Attributing specific past causes to account for present life circumstances is a very simplistic view when you take into account the vast plethora of diverse streams of karma that make up the average sentient's life inheritance.

    Fair, unfair, in reality it is all just words given to something that is dependent on everything else. It is only unfair from your perspective, from a monkeys point of view or an alien looking down, it may appear different. I guess this is where dualistic thinking comes into play...?
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    hermitwin said:

    karma is unfair.
    why i try all kinds of diets and i am still fat.
    my friend eats everything, seldom exercise and she is slim.
    that is so unfair.
    but , hey, that is reality, whether you like it or not.

    ...

    Everything is not karma-related.

  • vinlyn said:

    hermitwin said:

    karma is unfair.
    why i try all kinds of diets and i am still fat.
    my friend eats everything, seldom exercise and she is slim.
    that is so unfair.
    but , hey, that is reality, whether you like it or not.

    ...

    Everything is not karma-related.

    As in there are the laws of karma that govern us from moment to moment, but also there are the natural casual experiences of life?
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited August 2012
    Vinlyn might be speaking of karma as being only one of the five laws of the universe.

    (1) the laws of the physical world - that the world is not answerable to one's will;
    (2) the laws of the organic world - that all things flow;
    (3) the laws of morality - that karma is inexorable;
    (4) the law of the Dharma - that evil is vanquished and good prevails;
    (5) the laws of mind - that of the will to enlightenment
    son_of_dhamma
  • vinlyn said:

    Seems like if there was no rebirth, the whole karma system wouldn't work. Some karma takes longer than one lifetime to work itself out. And what of the karma of babies who die before they even get to do anything.

    Good thread. Different way of approaching the rebirth topic.

    Funny...I look at it the other way around.

    To me, karma that goes beyond this life would be unjust. You'd be suffering from something you didn't know you had done.

    Both perspectives suggest a punishment system and they both also tend to suggest that it is possible for an unenlightened mind to gain an understand of the workings of karma - this is not accurate.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    @vinlyn
    The question is beyond mere "different time periods". The question if about over different existences.
    The first includes the second. The effects of karma could be felt next minute, next day, next lifetime, whatever.
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited August 2012
    andyrobyn said:

    vinlyn said:

    Seems like if there was no rebirth, the whole karma system wouldn't work. Some karma takes longer than one lifetime to work itself out. And what of the karma of babies who die before they even get to do anything.

    Good thread. Different way of approaching the rebirth topic.

    Funny...I look at it the other way around.

    To me, karma that goes beyond this life would be unjust. You'd be suffering from something you didn't know you had done.

    Both perspectives suggest a punishment system and they both also tend to suggest that it is possible for an unenlightened mind to gain an understand of the workings of karma - this is not accurate.

    I'm not so sure I'd agree with "unenlightened mind cannot understand the workings of karma". I would agree "unenlightened mind finds it hard to release its clinging to desire for karma to be something it is not". That might be saying the same thing you just did using a lot more words, though. But that moves into the discussion about how for some Buddhists, karma is in the category of "imponderable" meaning it's too vast and complicated for normal human minds to comprehend.

    I've never subscribed to that philosophy. It smacks me as too similar to the "God's will is beyond human comprehension, so just accept the crap He throws your way and thank Him for it" school of religion. I call it the "puny mortal" syndrome. I like to think the dharma is open, comprehendable, even logical when approached from a skeptical and questioning mind.

    If the way one thinks about karma conflicts with reality as you know it, and conflicts as well with the rest of the dharma as one understands it, then either the understanding of karma is wrong or the understanding of reality and the other parts of dharma is wrong. In the case of past life karma, it doesn't matter to our practice what you believe, really, unless you let the belief excuse you from feeling compassion for those born in unfortunate circumstances.

    See, Buddha didn't say the problem with the world is that people don't accumulate enough good karma to escape being reborn into some punishing next life. He said the problem is people suffer in this one.


  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    andyrobyn said:

    vinlyn said:

    Seems like if there was no rebirth, the whole karma system wouldn't work. Some karma takes longer than one lifetime to work itself out. And what of the karma of babies who die before they even get to do anything.

    Good thread. Different way of approaching the rebirth topic.

    Funny...I look at it the other way around.

    To me, karma that goes beyond this life would be unjust. You'd be suffering from something you didn't know you had done.

    Both perspectives suggest a punishment system and they both also tend to suggest that it is possible for an unenlightened mind to gain an understand of the workings of karma - this is not accurate.

    Are you enlightened? I assume not. So based on your own standard, you cannot "gain an understand[ing] of the working of karma", so you cannot say it is "not accurate".

    son_of_dhamma
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @vinlyn

    The question is beyond mere "different time periods". The question if about over different existences.
    The first includes the second. The effects of karma could be felt next minute, next day, next lifetime, whatever.

    I guess that depends on what you mean by "felt". If you mean conscious of, then I don't agree. I have negative feelings for things I have done in the past in this life. I have never said to myself, "Oh wow, I have negative feelings for doing X 7 lives ago."

    You could be correct, but you have no evidence for that.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Cinorjer said:



    ...

    I've never subscribed to that philosophy. It smacks me as too similar to the "God's will is beyond human comprehension, so just accept the crap He throws your way and thank Him for it" school of religion. I call it the "puny mortal" syndrome. I like to think the dharma is open, comprehendable, even logical when approached from a skeptical and questioning mind.

    If the way one thinks about karma conflicts with reality as you know it, and conflicts as well with the rest of the dharma as one understands it, then either the understanding of karma is wrong or the understanding of reality and the other parts of dharma is wrong. In the case of past life karma, it doesn't matter to our practice what you believe, really, unless you let the belief excuse you from feeling compassion for those born in unfortunate circumstances.

    See, Buddha didn't say the problem with the world is that people don't accumulate enough good karma to escape being reborn into some punishing next life. He said the problem is people suffer in this one.


    You stated that so well.

    A standard I attempt to hold for myself, and one that I occasionally mention on this forum, is that we should be careful to judge (for wont of a better term) all religions on the same terms. How do we, as Buddhists, tend to react to the Christian statement that, "God works in mysterious ways". Or the Pope is infallible when he says he is right. Or that angel Moroni walked into the side of a hill where there was a huge chamber of religious objects and took the Golden Plates...but later took them back. We criticize such statements as being unsupportable.

    Saying that certain aspects of Buddhism are imponderable is no different than saying that God works in mysterious ways. It's a general concepts that all religions use for things they really can't explain. And what have we seen in this thread? Some people explaining karma, and then when push comes to shove saying that it's really imponderable.

    I support anyone's personal freedom to believe whatever they wish about karma. I support everyone's freedom to join in on the debate. But if we're going to say -- as we often do in this forum -- that Buddhism is a more scientific religion, then we'd better stick to that premise as we examine what can be discovered to be fact and what is simply faith (and there is nothing wrong with faith as long as we see that it is different than fact).

    Silouan
  • evolveevolve Explorer
    what if when we die we just become what we already are, like going back, going in, going more into what is, in its simple form and rebirth is something that happens as a result of emptiness, like 2 opposites making oneness. also you know the different worlds idea says when we make one decision, the opposite happens in another universe? its maybe related to rebirth in that, when we die the opposite happens in another parallel universe, which would be birth
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    Maybe we should make a movie of that, with Bill Murray and call it......
    Groundhog day (the uncut version)
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @vinlyn

    The question is beyond mere "different time periods". The question if about over different existences.
    The first includes the second. The effects of karma could be felt next minute, next day, next lifetime, whatever.
    I guess that depends on what you mean by "felt". If you mean conscious of, then I don't agree. I have negative feelings for things I have done in the past in this life. I have never said to myself, "Oh wow, I have negative feelings for doing X 7 lives ago."

    You could be correct, but you have no evidence for that.


    You're right, but I have no evidence it isn't true either. And that's how the suttas describe it, regardless of what we personally do and don't believe.
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    See, Buddha didn't say the problem with the world is that people don't accumulate enough good karma to escape being reborn into some punishing next life.
    According to the suttas he did say that. There are many references in the suttas to beings reappearing in different realms according to their actions, both good and bad.
    I think it's important to separate our understanding of the Buddhas teaching in the suttas from our personal beliefs and disbeliefs. If we don't do that then we can end up trying to rewrite the suttas so that they conform to our current belief set.
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    vinlyn said:

    But if we're going to say -- as we often do in this forum -- that Buddhism is a more scientific religion, then we'd better stick to that premise as we examine what can be discovered to be fact and what is simply faith (and there is nothing wrong with faith as long as we see that it is different than fact).

    Again I think you're confusing personal belief and disbelief with what the Buddha taught.
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    Saying that certain aspects of Buddhism are imponderable is no different than saying that God works in mysterious ways. It's a general concepts that all religions use for things they really can't explain. And what have we seen in this thread? Some people explaining karma, and then when push comes to shove saying that it's really imponderable.
    Not really. The principle of karma is straightforward, it's the workings of it which are imponderable.
  • rebirth is taught in the suttas and sutras.why would we think there is no rebirth?
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    rebirth is taught in the suttas and sutras.why would we think there is no rebirth?
    Some people are uncomfortable with this aspect of Buddhist teaching because it cannot be proved.
  • vinlyn said:

    andyrobyn said:

    vinlyn said:

    Seems like if there was no rebirth, the whole karma system wouldn't work. Some karma takes longer than one lifetime to work itself out. And what of the karma of babies who die before they even get to do anything.

    Good thread. Different way of approaching the rebirth topic.

    Funny...I look at it the other way around.

    To me, karma that goes beyond this life would be unjust. You'd be suffering from something you didn't know you had done.

    Both perspectives suggest a punishment system and they both also tend to suggest that it is possible for an unenlightened mind to gain an understand of the workings of karma - this is not accurate.

    Are you enlightened? I assume not. So based on your own standard, you cannot "gain an understand[ing] of the working of karma", so you cannot say it is "not accurate".

    Hi vinlyn,

    lol ... the most important point, as I see it, is that it is a waste of time and energy trying to work it out - imponderable so to speak; in that way, I can accurately say it is inaccurate without being enlightened

    :p
  • pegembara said:

    pegembara said:

    If there is no rebirth ...

    Who is reborn?

    This question implies that someone (a self) or something (an essence) was born, died and (re)born again. With anatta, this cannot be although it appears to be so.

    Actually it's just a convention. Otherwise there's no way to describe how Johnathan died and Marcie subsequently was born. Conventionally, Johnathan was reborn into Marcie. There's no indication of transmigration in this convention... ... ... If it was a useless convention it wouldn't be used in the canon.
    (Re)birth already presupposes that some essence (atta) of "Johnathan" is born again. There is no re- something. The term rebirth (like reincarnation) can cause confusion. Better to say cycle of birth, birth, birth etc. although it does sound awkward.

    One must make sure that the teaching of karma and rebirth does not lead to this:

    ["This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?"

    This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress. Sabbasava Sutta]

    ... okay. I guess everyone should stop using the term rebirth.

    rebirth is taught in the suttas and sutras.why would we think there is no rebirth?
    Some people are uncomfortable with this aspect of Buddhist teaching because it cannot be proved.

    It can be proven to yourself. Not everything is empirically provable. In fact, the one that that modern science has consistently taught us is that very same fact. Not everything can be empirically proven. It doesn't make it any less wrong of view to believe that rebirth is false.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    vinlyn said:

    But if we're going to say -- as we often do in this forum -- that Buddhism is a more scientific religion, then we'd better stick to that premise as we examine what can be discovered to be fact and what is simply faith (and there is nothing wrong with faith as long as we see that it is different than fact).

    Again I think you're confusing personal belief and disbelief with what the Buddha taught.
    No, it isn't one way or the other.

    There's belief based on factual information.
    There's belief based on faith.
    There's non-belief based on factual information.
    There's non-belief based on faith.

    And, in my view, all of those situations are valid IF one knows the difference.

    son_of_dhamma
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran


    Not really. The principle of karma is straightforward, it's the workings of it which are imponderable.

    Which is why I've said several times previously that I believe in the general concept of karma. But, I do not accept that the workings are imponderable...since we in this thread are pondering it.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    andyrobyn said:



    lol ... the most important point, as I see it, is that it is a waste of time and energy trying to work it out - imponderable so to speak; in that way, I can accurately say it is inaccurate without being enlightened

    :p

    And that's fine, faith-based, and relatively meaningless. With that basic philosophy, anybody can say anything.

  • I like the idea of rebirth. I'm even thinking of trashing my five year plan in favor of a five lifetime plan. I'm going to come back as a doctor next, and then as an artist. :p
    CloudZeroMinusHumanity
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    @RebeccaS, Wow I wish I could click LOL more than once!
    RebeccaS
  • andyrobynandyrobyn Veteran
    edited August 2012
    vinlyn said:

    andyrobyn said:



    lol ... the most important point, as I see it, is that it is a waste of time and energy trying to work it out - imponderable so to speak; in that way, I can accurately say it is inaccurate without being enlightened

    :p

    And that's fine, faith-based, and relatively meaningless. With that basic philosophy, anybody can say anything.

    No, that is not what is implied by what I said. Do you believe that you can understand the workings of karma?

  • RebeccaS said:

    I like the idea of rebirth. I'm even thinking of trashing my five year plan in favor of a five lifetime plan. I'm going to come back as a doctor next, and then as an artist. :p

    But as God, I will first have to give you permission,lol.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    andyrobyn said:

    ...Do you believe that you can understand the workings of karma?

    I am not comfortable with things that man cannot understand.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited August 2012

    vinlyn said:

    But if we're going to say -- as we often do in this forum -- that Buddhism is a more scientific religion, then we'd better stick to that premise as we examine what can be discovered to be fact and what is simply faith (and there is nothing wrong with faith as long as we see that it is different than fact).

    Again I think you're confusing personal belief and disbelief with what the Buddha taught.
    No, it isn't one way or the other.

    There's belief based on factual information.
    There's belief based on faith.
    There's non-belief based on factual information.
    There's non-belief based on faith.
    But it's still all belief and disbelief, and "factual information" is often a matter of opinion, dependent on which "expert" one listens to.

    My point is that it's important to approach the suttas with an open mind in order to properly understand what the Buddha taught. Rather than going in with a set of preconceptions ( subtle aversion ), eg "I don't believe in rebirth and the realms so I'm going to ignore all those teachings, or if I can't ignore them I'll claim the Buddha was talking metaphorically, or I'll claim the Buddha just made it all up to get a wider audience, or whatever."

    I'm not saying one has to believe anything, I'm observing that disbelief is a hindrance to understanding.
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    andyrobyn said:

    ...Do you believe that you can understand the workings of karma?

    I am not comfortable with things that man cannot understand.

    The universe if full of stuff like that. :p
  • vinlyn said:

    andyrobyn said:

    ...Do you believe that you can understand the workings of karma?

    I am not comfortable with things that man cannot understand.

    I do not wish

    vinlyn said:

    But if we're going to say -- as we often do in this forum -- that Buddhism is a more scientific religion, then we'd better stick to that premise as we examine what can be discovered to be fact and what is simply faith (and there is nothing wrong with faith as long as we see that it is different than fact).

    Again I think you're confusing personal belief and disbelief with what the Buddha taught.
    No, it isn't one way or the other.

    There's belief based on factual information.
    There's belief based on faith.
    There's non-belief based on factual information.
    There's non-belief based on faith.
    But it's still all belief and disbelief, and "factual information" is often a matter of opinion, dependent on which "expert" one listens to.

    My point is that it's important to approach the suttas with an open mind in order to properly understand what the Buddha taught. Rather than going in with a set of preconceptions ( subtle aversion ), eg "I don't believe in rebirth and the realms so I'm going to ignore all those teachings, or if I can't ignore them I'll claim the Buddha was talking metaphorically, or I'll claim the Buddha just made it all up to get a wider audience, or whatever."

    I'm not saying one has to believe anything, I'm observing that disbelief is a hindrance to understanding.

    My teacher has used the phrase ' suspending disbelief ' to describe an approach that is useful for me ... It means acknowledging a degree of mystery ( at least for the time being ).

  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited August 2012
    Here we run straight into the same argument that eventually drove me from my cherished Christian heritage and churches. Yes, people need to approach any deep and life changing practice with both an open mind and the willingness to suspend disbelief. However, I simply cannot check my intelligence at the door and it is not in me to believe something with no evidence and that goes against the universe as we know it to be, simply because I want to believe it or it would be nice if it was true. If I could do that, I'd still be singing in church about a man who rose from the dead like some zombie and that proves he was the actual son of the creator God.

    According to the pastors who eventually gave up and said they'd pray for me, I should believe because, first it's in the holy writings and I shouldn't pick and choose what I agree with there, and second because many very wise people say it's true, and third because not believing means I'm just being stubborn and closed-minded.

    First, ancient writings say many things because the ancient prophets and monks believed many things, and like all of us, we now know some of what they believed is wrong. They were only human and did fantastic for the world they lived in. Stop elevating them, even Buddha, to some supernatural superhuman god-like status. According to the sutras, Buddha also walked on water and teleported himself. People throughout time used what little they knew to make sense of the world, and what made sense at the time might not be valid today.

    Here's the first thing people often get wrong when I talk about putting past-life karma in the dustbin: I am not rejecting the parts of the sutras I don't like, or don't want, or find confusing. I would love for literal reincarnation to be real. I would love for the universe itself to have a moral law that says you eventually get paid back for the evil you do in this life. I would love to believe this. Show me how a vast, uncaring universe with this tiny speck of a world does this and I'll preach it from the mountain tops. It's the same deal I gave the Pastors.

    I am not saying I'm right and you're wrong if you believe. I'm saying I can't, not without showing me proof. I found Buddhism and it saved my life because it doesn't require me to believe in the impossible, only have faith in myself and other people. I found skeptical Buddhism, and perhaps helped spread the news to other skeptical people out there.

    Perhaps it's even a failing on my part. If a million Christians have no trouble believing in a man coming back to life, maybe I'm the one born without some necessary element to my thinking.




    Cloud
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited August 2012
    @Cirorjer, Where religions fall down for me is when/where they require belief. It's been my experience that we don't choose our beliefs... they are resultant of our experiences. We can want to believe something, but if we don't believe it we just don't believe it. If someone says you must believe something, or if a religion says you must believe something, that's a fundamental flaw and a failure of that religion to grasp the nature of the human mind. If a religion fails in that, it would seem to be something that men came up with prior to understanding how things actually worked, rather than the revelations of an all-knowing deity that would know better even back then.

    For instance if a priest tells me I'm going to hell because I don't believe in a creator god, then it would be that god's fault for not giving this reasonable mind enough to believe in him (even after all this time)... and I simultaneously can't believe that a god would expect me to believe what I can't, or condemn me to hell for that, so the whole thing becomes completely unreasonable and senseless. It would be a cruel or stupid god that would punish me for my inability to believe, and neither of those adjectives are supposed to describe an all-knowing creator god. That kind of logic/reason, coupled with my obvious inability to simply believe from the get-go, are what kept me from becoming a Christian even though my parents both are.

    Buddhism, at least as I understand it, does not require any such belief. It lays everything on the table in a reasonable fashion, says following the Path leads to cessation of craving (and thus suffering), and only asks for a modicum of reasonable faith or confidence in this process. It even has lineages of enlightened masters to show that people have been successfully following this Path for thousands of years, so it's no great leap to have faith that it works. Someone once said you have to believe in rebirth as a Buddhist... I say phooey. :D All you really have to believe is that positive change toward non-suffering is possible through some personal effort; if you didn't believe that, you wouldn't be a Buddhist. Rebirth makes sense even to me, in the right light (as a selfless process that works through causality), but if I just had to believe it literally, with nothing more to go on... just wouldn't happen. That's just the way this mind is rigged. People are all different in their capacities, and Buddhism takes this into account.
    person
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